May 16, 2005

NEWSWEEK has retracted its Koran-flushing story now, after its earlier weak apology didn't satisfy.

Good for them. Next time, of course, maybe they'll put some of those vaunted Big Media fact-checkers and editors to work before they publish.

As a comment over at Ed Morrisey's blog notes, they know how to be tactful when they want to be:

Newsweek ran the story knowing that it would excite the passions of the world's muslim population.

Contrast this with the media's refusal to show pictures of our fellow citizens jumping out the the world trade center. We were told that such pictures would unneccessarily anger the American people and lead to violence against Muslim Americans.

As I've said, they know how to be exquisitely sensitive, when they care to be.

And this does kind of cut some Newsweek defenders off at the knees.

I want to add that I don't think there's anything immoral about flushing a Koran (or a Bible) down the toilet, assuming you've got a toilet that's up to that rather daunting task, and I think it's amusing to hear people who usually worry about excessive concern for religious beliefs suddenly taking a different position. Nor do I think that doing so counts as torture, and I think that it debases the meaning of "torture" to claim otherwise. If this had happened, it might have been -- indeed, would have been -- impolitic or unwise. But not evil.

And anyone who thinks otherwise needs to be willing to apply the same kind of criticism to things like Piss Christ, or to explain why offending the sensibilities of one kind of religious believer is "art" while doing the same in another context is "torture." If, that is, they want to be taken at all seriously.

UPDATE: Austin Bay has thoughts after his MSNBC appearance.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Dave Price offers a prediction:

Released detainees current and future will falsely claim the Koran-flushing happened, just as their Al Qaeda training manuals instruct them to do. Liberals in and out of the media will cite the detainees and claim vindication, while remaining utterly oblivious to why some people always complain they're working with the enemy.

It's funny that press accounts on this topic don't seem to mention that Al Qaeda folks are trained to lie about torture, etc., when reporting on that topic.

And the fake-but-accurate defense is appearing as scheduled.